Penicuik postmaster celebrates 40 years' service
Popular Penicuik postmaster, Willie McGinley, who joined the Post Office as his first job, has been presented with a 40 Years’ Post Office Long Service Award.
Willie had a variety of Post Office jobs when he joined the organisation in 1980 at the age of 18. In 1993 the opportunity arose to become postmaster for Penicuik Post Office at the same time that his regional role was going to move to Glasgow, so Willie, who has always lived in Penicuik, leapt at the chance.
Willie said: “The vacancy for Penicuik Post Office came at the right time – I took it as a sign, a good omen! I love working with the public, so the role was perfect.
“Penicuik Post Office had been managed by Post Office and then I took it over and became its first postmaster. People had been worried that this might be a downgrade of services, but the handover was seamless as I was very experienced from serving in a post office due to visiting branches to train people.
“I have always enjoyed being a postmaster. No two days are the same. The work is very varied as we have so many products and services.”
When Willie took on the branch at 46 St John Street, he embarked on a big project, in stages, to knock down walls and refit the shop to add retail to his premises. He introduced cards, stationery and packaging.
There was a big surge in demand for these goods and Post Office services during the Covid pandemic. Penicuik Post Office remained fully open, whilst nearby shops were closed and banks were open very limited hours.
Willie said: “We stayed open for our full hours. I was very lucky with my staff that they could all work and we have managed to stay safe. My staff and I wanted to be there for the community and we wanted to keep busy.
“People were buying lots of cards and packaging to send letters and parcels to people they could not meet up with. People really appreciated that we remained fully open."
Willie clocked up 40 years’ service in 2020, but the pandemic delayed the presentation of the award. Post Office area manager Michael Stevenson presented the award.
He said: “Willie is very popular postmaster as he really cares about the community that he serves. We wanted to acknowledge his 40 years’ and thank him for his hard work and loyal service.”
Customers will be pleased to hear that Willie has no plans to retire.
He said: “I am too young to retire – this was my first job at the age of 18 and I really enjoy serving the community, where I was born, raised and continue to live.
"I like to have a little chat with everyone when they come in. It is important to be friendly and approachable. Some people, particularly the elderly, come in especially for a chat as they are lonely.
“When I walk around the town people acknowledge me as they recognise me from the Post Office. My kids comment that I know everyone in the town as so many people say hello when we are out and about.”